Generational Marketing: the Silent Generation

Generational Marketing is a series on working with and marketing to the five primary generations in the US population: the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. With all the news this year about Millennials becoming the largest generational block in America (just ahead of Boomers), it's easy to lose sight of the Silent Generation when it comes to effective marketing and communication.

About the Generation

Born from 1928 to 1945, the 28 million members of the Silent Generation are between 71 and 88 years of age. Warren Buffett, Bernie Sanders, Betty White, Clint Eastwood and Paul McCartney are examples of the enduring relevance of this generation.As a whole, Silents are among the wealthiest of the generations, just behind Boomers. And while their life needs and priorities have evolved, they remain active consumers of lifestyle and entertainment industries, healthcare, financial services and housing.

Working with the Generation

The Silent Generation feels that they did things "the right way." They were influenced by The Great Depression, World War II, the rise of corporations and The New Deal. Most have a "pay cash or save" mentality and have characteristics that include respecting authority and being disciplined, patriotic, patient and loyal. They value hard work before fun, following the rules and their families and communities.

Marketing to the Generation

Here are some tips to keep in mind when engaging consumers from the Silent Generation:

  1. Direct mail and the written word still rules. While more and more Silents are using social media and the internet to learn, shop and interact, the majority still prefer to be reached in traditional ways: newsletters, postcards, flyers and other forms of written communication, such as direct mail.
  1. Use the right visuals. Rather than using stereotypical images of aging peers, choose emotional images that play to what Silents value, such as conveying a sense of family or belonging. And make sure to use larger fonts than you might otherwise!
  1. Keep layouts simple.Avoid using multiple images or busy layouts that can confuse. Keep all of your communication as simple and direct as possible. Employ "no nonsense" copy with a more formal communication style to go along with an overall layout that underscores a singular focus.

The Silent Generation is still relevant as both consumers and influencers. Reaching them effectively requires more traditional approaches with language and value propositions that appeal to their unique needs and preferences.

Communicate better. That’s what we help you do. Because better communication means better business.